Cook County Jail inmates waiting to see a judge applauded as accused cop killer Shomari Legghette walked by.
The incident is being investigated and authorities promise those inmates who clapped will be disciplined.
Legghette is accused of killing Chicago Police Commander Paul Bauer.
On Thursday, Legghette shuffled into the courtroom, with the eyes of nearly 50 police officers trained squarely on him.
“This case is truly tragic and disheartening to the entire city,” Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx said.
Outside of the Cook County Criminal Court building, flags fluttered at half-staff.
Inside, a courtroom packed with police officers, including CPS Superintendent Eddie Johnson, were at full attention.
“The commander was a leader in the department, a devoted father, and husband,” Foxx said.
Police say the 44-year-old Legghette was in downtown Chicago on Tuesday afternoon when tactical officers approached him because he was acting suspiciously. After a brief scuffle, he ran away.
Police said the 53-year-old Bauer, who identified himself as a police officer, grabbed Legghette and was holding him when he and the suspect fought. Authorities say both fell down a stairwell before Legghette allegedly shot him.
Foxx said Legghette fired seven shots at Cmdr. Bauer. He was hit by six of those shots – and suffered wounds to his head, neck, torso, back and wrist.
Foxx described the heart-breaking scene, where police found Cmdr. Bauer’s body.
“Cmdr. Bauer’s weapon was holstered and secured when his body was found. Cmdr. Bauer’s police radio and handcuffs were on the ground next to his body,” she said.
Seconds later, Legghette was arrested in the stairwell.
You might think that this sort of outburst is common—that suspects who are accused of killing a cop are treated as heroes.
Such is not always the case:
A friend of mine, who worked in the Illinois Corrections Division at several state prisons and before retiring, told me cop killers were just the same as all of the other convicts. He never saw the other inmates worship them because befriending them might draw the ire of the guards.
He admitted that guards might be a little heavy handed in dealing with cop killers and the other inmates knew that guilt by association was common with the guards.
One thing he did say was that gang members out of Chicago actually got mad at a gang member convicted of hurting or killing a cop because try knew that the wrath of the officer’s department was gonna come down on those on the street. And come down hard.
It’s not the high and mighty status seen in the movies and on TV.
It may be that one reason inmates cheered the death of a policeman is that Chicago’s police have been unfairly targeted by activists like Black Lives Matter, who have smeared the entire police force in the process. There is little doubt that there are bad apples in the CPD. Every department has them. It might be that Chicago’s police department is more corrupt than some others.
But the deliberate and conscious ginning up of outrage at the actions of a few cops impacts the entire community, leaving a negative impression of the police and spreading fear unnecessarily.
A thug like Legghette doesn’t need to find an excuse to kill a policeman. What is the excuse of those inmates who applauded?